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Teachers are going viral for the best reasons 👏

Here are some of the ways teachers are going above + beyond for kids right now.

Teachers are going viral for the best reasons 👏

Back-to-school season is extra stressful this year, not just for parents but for children, too. Teachers are the ultimate heroes this year and we mean that in the most sincere way. They are the heroes we need right now and that means they need support so that they can keep supporting us and our kids. Because they're doing an amazing job.

Teachers are standing up (and in some cases laying down) to give kids the education they need at a time when they need connection the most.

Here are some of the ways teachers are going above + beyond for kids right now:


This pregnant teacher is on bedrest + teaching from her hospital room

California teacher Janet Udomratsak has been teaching at her elementary school for more than a decade and today back in class again.. from her hospital bed.

Udomratsak has been hospitalized for several weeks due to her high-risk pregnancy but chose to start the school year virtually anyway.

She tells Motherly: "The beginning of the year is a crucial time to make connections and build strong relationships with your students. When you have that connection, the students feel safe and comfortable with you and that helps with their motivation to do well in class."

When local news stations picked up her story, a lot of internet commenters hailed Udomratsak as a hero. She tells Motherly she's honored, "but I wouldn't necessarily say that I myself alone am a hero but educators in general are heroes. I feel that my dedication to teaching isn't that far off from other educators. My situation is a little different with me being in a hospital and not being able to be with family but I feel that my motivation is the same as that of others."

This back-to-school season is difficult for all teachers, whether you're in the classroom or logging in from your hospital room, something Udomratsak recognizes.

"This year is a very different type of schooling but we are all here for the students. Virtual learning is new for all of us and we are learning and adjusting alongside the students and that is why we need to be a team with the parents." she says. "Even though we are not physically in the classroom together, school is real and our passion is just the same for them."

This viral photo shows how one teacher created socially distanced Jeep desks

Maybe I'll Shower Today

Jennifer Birch Pierson, a Kindergarten teacher from Texas, understands how different this school year is for her little kinders. Social distancing measures mean her kids will need to sit away from friends, something they may not be used to.

She came up with an idea to make sitting at a desk more fun and turned the desks in her classroom into trucks, creating an exciting environment for her children to learn in.

Pierson, whose classroom looks like an adorable road filled with unique and colorful cars and trucks, even turned the required desk shields into windshields for her desk-mobiles. With one idea and one photo, Pierson proved that classrooms in the time of the coronavirus pandemic don't have to be scary. Our youth deserve the opportunity to grow and thrive while learning in a safe space.

For good reason, the photo of Pierson's classroom quickly went viral after it was posted to the Maybe I'll Shower Today Facebook page. The caption that accompanied Pierson's pic perfectly summed up the feelings of many parents around the globe. "Those students who enter her classroom may have a tough time, but clearly they are in the hands of a caring teacher, and that's something all parents can be grateful for," the post read. "Thank you to the teachers, who, like Ms. Pierson, are doing all they can and more to make our kids feel safe and happy."

Pierson said it was her goal to make "lemonade from some very sour lemons," and it seems she's doing just that. While it may be hard to imagine a classroom full of Kindergarten-aged kids being able to practice social distancing for hours on end, Pierson's way of creating a fun space for her students to keep their distance will certainly help make things easier.

This teacher is using Baby Shark to take a bite out of math 

Texas teacher Ashlee Skelton is still teaching her elementary classes through a screen, but that doesn't mean the kids can't have some fun.

If you've been on TikTok this week you may have seen Ms. Skelton dancing for her students to Baby Shark in a shark costume. Her co-worker caught her in the act and the clip's been viewed millions of times.

"I was in my classroom doing reading plans and I heard the song," Skelton's fellow teacher Hannah Roddy told KHOU 11. "I came to peek through her window to see what she was doing and I was like, this has to be filmed."

"All of the followers I had on TikTok were my family members and some friends," she explained. "So, I did not think really anybody would see it."

Well, 15 million of us have.

Skelton says she did the dance because she recognizes how hard it is for kids to keep sitting in front of a computer for hours. She hadn't met her students or their parents in person yet when she did the dance.

"I think I heard some parents cringe in the background at the song that was used, but the kids really enjoyed it and they were super excited about it," she explains. "Just to see them laugh behind the computer screen, just kind of made it all worth it."


14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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